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Woodland Park Zoo wins prestigious award for penguin exhibit

The Woodland Park Zoo has won the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Exhibit Achievement Award for its new Humboldt penguin exhibit. This is the fifth time WPZ has won the award for best exhibit.The achievement award is presented by the AZA for “outstanding dedication to conservation issues, construction of exhibit space and simulation of species natural habitats.”

Photo by Jennifer Svane, courtesy Woodland Park Zoo.

“We are honored that our peers at AZA have recognized our goal of encouraging our zoo guests to explore and discover more about the Humboldt penguins’ natural history and their plight in the wild, the birds’ connection to people and the collaborative work underway to help this endangered species,” said Woodland Park Zoo President and CEO Dr. Deborah Jensen.
The all-new, state-of-the-art penguin exhibit, which opened last year, transports zoo-goers to the arid, rocky, coastal peninsula of Punta San Juan, home to the largest breeding population of Humboldt penguins in Peru. Dramatic vantage points, shoreline cliffs, a cerulean, rocky tide pool, rolling crashing waves, and a beach create a truly memorable, immersive experience for zoo guests and a healthy, enriching environment for the birds.
The penguin exhibit was one of 12 exhibits under consideration for the AZA award. Last year the exhibit earned a Design Excellence Award from the Seattle Design Commission for its sustainable goals, including energy efficient heating from Seattle City Light and a water-saving filtration system from Seattle Public Utilities. As part of Woodland Park Zoo’s commitment to green practices, the exhibit uses geothermal energy and an innovative filtration system that will save 3 million gallons of water and nearly 22,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year.